About this Research Topic
Nanostructured carbon materials have acquired an important role as materials for sensing applications. Their wide applicability covers chemical and electrochemical sensors, mass sensors (resonators), thermal and optical sensors, as well as various physical sensors and actuators, like flow sensors, force (pressure, strain, stress) and electromechanical actuators, temperature sensors, vision sensors, acoustic sensors, etc. These materials show outstanding properties such as high electrical conductivity, high surface area, high mechanical resistance, modifiable surface chemistry and good biocompatibility. Moreover, in some cases, they present fast electron transport to be used as electrodes in electrochemical sensors.
The nanostructured carbon materials can be found in different forms and structures such as carbon nanotubes, nanofibers, nanohorns, graphene, etc, what provides an enormous potential for processing, modification and use in different sensor technologies and applications. For example, in the case of a single-layer of graphene, it exhibits a high surface area, which makes it ideal as a support material. In addition, it contains defects that can act as active sites.
On the other hand, the surface chemistry of the nanostructured carbon materials can be tailored in order to improve the interaction between the analyte and the carbon surface, thus providing an enhancement of the analytical parameters, like selectivity and sensitivity. Furthermore, the nanostructured carbon materials can be used as support of enzymes and other biomolecules, being possible their use in medical diagnostic.
Given the significance of sensors in multiple fields, advances in chemical and physical sensor technology for improved sensitivity and faster response are continuously needed. This will permit to extract more-accurate and precise information from changes in the environment.
Keywords: Nanostructured carbon materials, chemical sensors, physical sensors, actuators, biosensors